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Meet Marcy Cottrell, Co-Author of “The Gift of Caring”

Sunday, March 3 | 10:00 am - 11:30 am

Please join the Brotherhood of Congregation Beth Israel in welcoming author Marcy Cottrell Houle, co-author of the book “The Gift of Caring.” The event will be held in Pollin Chapel across from the main sanctuary at Congregation Beth Israel. This is a great resource for those helping an aging loved one.

The Gift of Caring

By Marcy Cottrell Houle, MS and Elizabeth Eckstrom MD, MPH, MACP

Winner of the Christopher Award

One of the most difficult struggles in life is caring for an aging loved one, be it parent, spouse, or another. That struggle becomes almost impossible when the more common trials of aging are complicated by dementia or Alzheimer’s. The Gift of Caring combines the poignant narrative of author Marcy Cottrell Houle trying to handle first her father’s eventually debilitating Alzheimer’s, then her mother’s deteriorating physical health. Interspersed into this heartfelt story is real, actionable advice from co-author Elizabeth Eckstrom MD, MPH, MACP. Specializing in geriatrics and a strong advocate for better healthcare for the elderly, Eckstrom provides clear, compassionate advice and empowering strategies at every step of Houle’s journey.

Many elderly patients lose the ability to advocate for themselves. This problem is particularly troublesome for those with Alzheimer’s. In more advanced stages they will forget where they are and what is going on and often don’t even realize what they need—the ability to make the abstract connection between, for example, being thirsty and needing a glass of water, is simply gone. It is up to those around them to realize what is needed and advocate for it.

Even when one’s mind remains steady, sometimes it takes a third party to step in and ask the right questions and get all the information, and then coordinate care as necessary, often between multiple care providers. And, as was the case with Houle’s mother, the trauma of unrelated illnesses can cause a disordered mental state, which can, in turn, be exacerbated by certain medications.  Dr. Eckstrom has also included multiple tools to facilitate care such as a list of commonly prescribed medications that have side effects that are potentially extremely hazardous to the elderly.

Honest, at times humorous, and ultimately hopeful and uplifting, The Gift of Caring sheds new light on aging through twin perspectives: a story of a daughter desperately seeking help for the parents she loves, and a geriatrician who gives us the knowledge we need to insist upon a better way.

The Authors

Marcy Cottrell Houle, MS, is a biologist and award-winning author. Her book Wings for My Flight won the prestigious Christopher Medal and The Prairie Keepers was a New York Times Notable Book and a Booklist Editor’s Choice. She has published articles in the New York Times, Reader’s Digest, and Nature Conservancy Magazine, is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, and has been featured on NPR and national television programs and in periodical reviews. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Elizabeth Eckstrom, MD, MPH, MACP, is Professor and Chief of Geriatrics in the Division of General Internal Medicine at Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU) and cofounder of the OHSU Healthy Aging Alliance. She has received many honors and recognition for her innovative work. In addition, Dr. Eckstrom is a sought-after national speaker and the author of numerous articles on geriatrics. She lives in Portland, Oregon.


Sunday, March 3
10:00 am - 11:30 am
Event Category:


Men’s Club


Congregation Beth Israel
1972 NW Flanders St
Portland, OR 97209 United States
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